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K-Statement: Bill Snyder ‘will remain coach until he decides otherwise’

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Kansas State has responded to the events of Thursday and, wow, what a response.

Early yesterday afternoon, a report surfaced that indicated K-State had a verbal agreement with Jim Leavitt to ultimately take over the football program in place but that arrangement was nixed by legendary current head coach Bill Snyder, who wants his son to take the reins when he steps down. Subsequent to that, Leavitt, the defensive coordinator at Oregon who was an assistant under Snyder at KSU in the nineties, told GoPowercat.com that he has “no desire nor I ever had a desire to be a coach in waiting.”

Not long after, with FootballScoop.com refuting the original report, the Manhattan Mercury confirmed at least a portion of it; however, that newspaper said Snyder nixed the arrangement “because he did not want to commit to a timetable for his own retirement.” Per the original report via Facebook from former ESPN college football insider Brett McMurphy, Leavitt would’ve been paid $3 million if he wasn’t named head coach prior to Jan. 1 of 2018.

Given all of that he-said, he-said drama, the university released a statement that indicates Snyder maintains the autonomy to choose the when of his departure.

As has been the case and stated many times, Coach Snyder is our football coach and will remain coach until he decides otherwise.

Left unsaid is whether Snyder will get to handpick his successor whenever he decides otherwise.

In the past, the 78-year-old Snyder has made it perfectly clear that he wants his son, 48-year-old Wildcats special teams coordinator and associate head coach Sean Snyder, to take over when he steps down for good.

“I have a strong belief, and my preference is Sean,” Snyder said back in July of 2015 when asked his preference for a successor. “He knows more about our football program than anyone. He runs our program. I have great confidence in him.

“It’s easy to say, ‘He’s your son,’ but I don’t wish coaching on anyone.”

“If I were to step down today, I certainly would [recommend Sean for the job],” Snyder said in October of 2012, “I think he’d be absolutely fantastic at it, but I wouldn’t encourage him to take the job.

“I’d rather see him live a more complete life than this.”

The younger Snyder has actually spent more time as part of the K-State football program than his Hall of Fame father, transferring to KSU from Iowa after the 1989 season. The lone exception being 1993, Sean Snyder has been a Wildcats player, football staffer or assistant coach for 27 of the last 28 years. Since 1989, Bill Snyder has spent 26 years as K-State’s head coach, with a three-year sabbatical in the middle of the last decade splitting up his first and second tenures at the school.

Whether that makes him qualified to take over for his dad is a question that will very likely be answered in the coming months.

Old conference rivals Missouri and Kansas State announce home-and-home series in 2022 and 2023

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It’s not a renewal of the Border War but it’s at least in the same state.

Former Big 12 (and Big 8) rivals Kansas State and Missouri announced on Thursday that they would renew their extremely long series history with home-and-home set in 2022 and 2023. The games will take place in Manhattan on September 10, 2022 while the return date will be September 16, 2023 back in Columbia.

“We are pleased to announce a home-and-home with a very quality opponent in Missouri,” said Wildcats AD Gene Taylor in a statement. “The combination of needing a Power Five opponent on the schedule each year and being able to work with a regional institution that we have such a strong football history with, made perfect sense for K-State. I know our fans will be excited to play the Tigers again, and we look forward to two outstanding games in 2022 and 2023.”

Missouri leads the series by a significant margin (60-32-5) but Kansas State won the last meeting back in 2011 when the two were both in the Big 12. Part of the reason things are tilted so heavily in favor of the Tigers is the result of how dreadful the Wildcats once were in their Big 8 days but since Bill Snyder arrived in town the series tilted toward Manhattan by a 15-5 margin.

The series itself dates back to 1909 but was vastly overshadowed by the Mizzou’s historic ‘Border War’ games with the other team in the state, Kansas. While those two have seen tensions thawed out a bit in recent years (especially in basketball), perhaps Thursday’s announcement of a home-and-home between these two teams will lead to an eventual meeting between the Jayhawks and Tigers.

Either way, the series completes Kansas State’s 2022 non-conference slate (Tulane and Abilene Christian being the other two games) and gives them a starting point in 2023. Missouri has games against Middle Tennessee and Memphis over the same two year window but isn’t quite set on the non-conference front just yet even with the announcement adding the Wildcats.

Report: Jim Leavitt’s verbal deal to take over at K-State nixed by Bill Snyder

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It’s not exactly a state secret that Bill Snyder wants his son, special teams coordinator Sean Snyder, to take over for him when he steps down a second, and presumably final, time as Kansas State’s head coach.  Thursday brought forth a striking example of just how far the Wizard of Manhattan will go to ensure his beloved football program remains a part of the family.

According to a Facebook post from former ESPN.com college football insider Brett McMurphy, K-State had an agreement in place last year with Jim Leavitt, a former KSU assistant who at the time was on the Colorado staff, that would have him succeed Snyder as head coach after joining.  Per the agreement, Leavitt would have joined Snyder’s staff and been guaranteed $3 million if he were not named head coach before Jan. 1 of 2018.

The 78-year-old Snyder, though, had other ideas.  From McMurphy’s post:

However, last December, Snyder pushed back on Leavitt, a former KSU assistant, being named his replacement because Snyder wanted his son Sean, currently KSU’s associate head coach and special teams coordinator, to replace him, sources said.

Snyder’s K-State contract stipulates when he’s done coaching at KSU he will be a “special assistant to the athletic director” and “shall also have appropriate input … regarding the selection of the next head football coach.”

In late 2016/early 2017, Kansas State officials were prepared to approach Snyder again about approving Leavitt as his replacement. However, Snyder, who turned 78 on Oct. 7, was diagnosed with throat cancer, so the school opted to no longer pursue the plan for Leavitt to replace Snyder.

Instead of returning to K-State, Leavitt, also the former head coach at USF who left the Bulls under a cloud of controversy, was hired as the defensive coordinator at Oregon last December.  Per McMurphy’s post, Leavitt has a clause in his UO contract that he won’t owe the university anything “should he voluntarily terminate this agreement to become the head football coach at Kansas State University.”

As of this posting, there’s been no comment from Snyder or the university on the report.

One-time USC QB commit David Sills now has FBS-leading 18 TD catches for West Virginia

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One of the best under-the-radar storylines of the 2017 season continued Saturday evening in Little Manhattan.

Once a highly-touted quarterback prodigy — as a 13-year-old he was offered a scholarship to USC by Lane Kiffin — David Sills moved to wide receiver not long after signing with West Virginia as part of their 2015 recruiting class. In June of 2016, WVU announced that Sills was moving on to the junior college level “to pursue his dream of playing quarterback.”

Six months later, that dream ended as WVU announced that Sills had come back to the Mountaineers — and was coming back as a receiver.  And come back he did as, after catching seven passes for 131 yards and a pair of touchdowns in eight games as a true freshman in 2015, Sills has now caught 18 touchdowns in 10 games this season after recording two more in WVU’s narrow five-point win over Kansas State — one on an absolutely ridiculous catch, especially for a former quarterback.

The only other FBS player even remotely in Sills’ end-zone neighborhood is Memphis’ Anthony Miller, who has 11.  With 10 each, UCLA’s Darren Andrews and Miami of Ohio’s James Gardner are the only other players at this level in double-digits.

With three games remaining, the 6-4, 203-pound Sills has an outside chance — a very outside chance — of tying the FBS single-season record of 27 touchdown catches set by Louisiana Tech’s Troy Edwards in 1998.  He’s also seven scores away from tying the school record of 25 set by Stedman Bailey in 2012. Bailey is currently tied for second all-time with Marshall’s Randy Moss, who set the FBS record of 25 the year before it was broken by Edwards.

In seven games this season, though, Sills has scored two or more touchdowns in a single game.  He’s caught three in thee contests.

As for the man feeding Sills the ball through the air, Will Grier (howdy Florida!) leads the nation with 34 touchdowns passes, pending what Missouri’s Drew Lock (31) does tonight against Kentucky.  With the same three games remaining, Grier needs eight touchdowns to tie Geno Smith‘s school record of 42 set in 2012 and nine to break it.

56 college football assistants named nominees for 2017 Broyles Award

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College football’s award season is coming quickly with semifinalists and finalists for various awards coming in the next few weeks. Among the awards is the Broyles Award, which recognizes the top assistant coach in college football. Today, the Frank & Barbara Broyles Foundation released its list of nominees for this year’s award. All 56 of them, which is sure to keep more SIDs busy this time of year.

No school has more than one assistant nominated for the award and previous winners of the award from the past five seasons are not eligible. Clemson’s Brent Venables won the award last year, for example, so he is not eligible this season. This list of nominees will be trimmed to 15 semifinalists later this season, and that list will be cut down to five finalists for the award.

The Broyles Award was first awarded in 2010 to Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. Malzahn is currently the head coach of the Tigers. In total, five Broyles Award winners have gone on to be a head coach, with four of those currently holding head coaching positions. Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi (2013, Michigan State defensive coordinator), Texas head coach Tom Herman (2014, Ohio State offensive coordinator), and Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley (2015, Oklahoma offensive coordinator) currently hold head coaching jobs. Bob Diaco, who won the award in 2012 while at Notre Dame, went on to be named the head coach at UConn and currently is an assistant with Nebraska.

2017 Broyles Award Nominees

  • Alabama – Brian Daboll, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
  • Arizona – Rod Smith, Co–Offensive Coordinator
  • Arizona State – Phil Bennett, Defensive Coordinator
  • Arkansas State – Brian Early, Defensive Line Coach
  • Auburn – Kevin Steele, Defensive Coordinator
  • Boise State – Andy Avalos, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
  • Bowling Green State – Matt Brock, Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
  • California – Beau Baldwin, Offensive Coordinator
  • Central Florida – Troy Walters, Offensive Coordinator
  • Clemson – Tony Elliot, Co–Offensive Coordinator, Running Backs
  • Eastern Michigan – Neal Neathery, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
  • FAU – Chris Kiffin, Defensive Coordinator
  • FIU – Brent Guy, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
  • Fresno State – Orlondo Steinauer, Defensive Coordinator
  • Georgia – Mel Tucker, Defensive Coordinator
  • Georgia State – Nate Fuqua, Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers
  • Iowa State – Jon Heacock, Defensive Coordinator/Safeties
  • Kansas State – Sean Snyder, Special Teams Coordinator
  • LSU – Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator
  • Memphis – Joe Lorig, Special Teams Coordinator; – Outside Linebackers
  • Miami – Manny Diaz, Defensive Coordinator
  • Michigan – Don Brown, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
  • Michigan State – Harlon Barnett, Co–Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach
  • Mississippi State – Todd Grantham, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
  • Missouri – Josh Heupel, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
  • NC State – Dwayne Ledford, Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator
  • North Texas – Graham Harrell, Offensive Coordinator
  • Northwestern – Mike Hankwitz, Defensive Coordinator
  • Notre Dame – Mike Elko, Defensive Coordinator
  • Ohio State – Larry Johnson, Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach
  • Oklahoma – Bill Bedenbaugh, Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
  • Oklahoma State – Mike Yurcich, Offensive Coordinator/QBs
  • Ole Miss – Derrick Nix, Running Backs Coach
  • Oregon – Jim Leavitt, Defensive Coordinator
  • Penn State – Brent Pry, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
  • San José State – Bojay Filimoeatu, Linebackers Coach
  • SMU – Joe Craddock, Offensive Coordinator
  • South Carolina – Coleman Hutzler, Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
  • Southern Miss – Tony Pecoraro, Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers
  • Stanford – Mike Bloomgren, Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
  • Syracuse – Brian Ward, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
  • TCU – Chad Glasgow, Defensive Coordinator
  • Temple – Jim Panagos, Defensive Line
  • Texas – Todd Orlando, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
  • Toledo – Brian Wright, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
  • Troy – Vic Koenning, Defensive Coordinator
  • U.S. Military Academy – Brent Davis, Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
  • USC – Tee Martin, Offensive Coordinator/WR Coach
  • Utah State – Mark Tommerdahl, Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs
  • Virginia Tech – Bud Foster, Defensive Coordinator
  • Wake Forest – Warren Ruggiero, Offensive Coordinator
  • Washington – Pete Kwiatkowski, Defensive Coordinator
  • Washington State – Alex Grinch, Defensive Coordinator / Secondary
  • West Virginia – Tony Gibson, Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
  • Western Kentucky – Clayton White, Defensive Coordinator
  • Wisconsin – Jim Leonhard, Defensive Coordinator